Author Topic: FRS Watch  (Read 769 times)

Country Singer

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FRS Watch
« on: November 14, 2016, 08:14:04 PM »
I periodically check Kickstarter for items that may be of prepping interest and found one that looks interesting.  It's a "watch" that has Family Radio Service (FRS) functionality, along with other features like compass and pedometer.  I do have some concerns, like the antenna being built into the strap, but the concept is intriguing.  To put it another way, you would (or should) be able to communicate with other radios like the BaoFeng when programmed with FRS frequencies and traditional "bubble pack" walkie talkies.  Another downside is the limited range and I have questions about battery life.  Still, it might be useful in a pinch.

They're available at one for $59 or two of $99.


Kickstarter "Walkie Talkie" SmartWatch
« Last Edit: November 14, 2016, 08:16:37 PM by Country Singer »
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Lilburner

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Re: FRS Watch
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2016, 09:01:59 PM »
Interesting. I see that it does 400-470, so that's a tremendously useful range.

But I didn't see anything about repeater capability: splits and tones. Did you?

I'm thinking a local repeater for a retreat/mag etc is a good idea, and likely UHF. These would be perfect for those ranges.
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Country Singer

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Re: FRS Watch
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2016, 09:53:46 PM »
There's an indication buried in the specs about being able to program tones, but nothing about split frequency operation.
“Our country demands all our strength, all our energies. To resist the powerful combination now forming against us will require every man at his place.
If victorious, we will have everything to hope for in the future. If defeated, nothing will be left for us to live for.”

Country Singer

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Re: FRS Watch
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2018, 04:21:28 PM »
OK, guess what *FINALLY* showed up?  Yep, my pair of StarVoxes.

Here's a quick break down:

- Instructions are in Engrish and not the best (but I've seen much worse, too).

- This is a brand new product developed off Kickstarter.  As a result, these things are some of the first off the production line.

- It's very bulky and heavy.

- The "walkie-talkie" feature seems to work pretty well, but I have no idea what the range is.  I'm going to need another person to assist in trying this out.

- The battery life is questionable.  From my limited usage so far, you're only going to get 24-36 hours out of them before needing to recharge.

- Recharge time is pretty quick (about two hours) and done via USB and a dock that snaps to the back of the watch case.  Each watch also comes with a special cable for firmware updates.

- So far, no way to run split frequencies (so no repeater use).  There is a flaw in the system: there is no setting for no squelch tones.  001 is the default, these use RELM codes to designate the CTCSS.

- The transmit audio from the watches, when heard over a Yaesu VX-7R handheld, is surprisingly (almost shockingly) good.  The receive audio on the watches themselves is a bit tinny and light.

- I like the environmental data it provides: Temp, Humidity, and Barometric Pressure.  I do not like that it is only provided in metric.

- The compass function seems to work OK.

- The heart rate monitor seems to be relatively accurate.  I have no idea what the accuracy of the blood pressure monitor is, or even what principles it's based on.  Also, it fluctuates at such a rate as to be useless.

Conclusion:  It's a neat piece of gear, but not ready for prime time.  They tried to pack too many features into the watch (one of the reasons for the long manufacturing delay).  Most of the issues should be an easy firmware fix, but the battery life is the killer.  Best use for these is going to be day hikes, IMO.
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If victorious, we will have everything to hope for in the future. If defeated, nothing will be left for us to live for.”

Lilburner

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Re: FRS Watch
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2018, 07:40:18 PM »
It does seem like overkill for what it sounds like it would be best for - kids.

An FRS watch would be great for family outings so the kid is pretty much guaranteed to have the radio without the responsibility of keeping up with it.

Range would be an important consideration though - like would it cover all of Disneyworld
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Country Singer

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Re: FRS Watch
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2018, 07:49:14 PM »
Honestly, right now I'm not sure that the range is more than a few hundred yards.
“Our country demands all our strength, all our energies. To resist the powerful combination now forming against us will require every man at his place.
If victorious, we will have everything to hope for in the future. If defeated, nothing will be left for us to live for.”